GENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaNews/21 June) – The Department of Health (DOH) in Region 12 or the Soccsksargen Region is closely watching six villages in the region due to the noted rise in dengue cases in the last four weeks.
Dr. Alah Baby Vingno, Department of Health-Region 12 regional epidemiology and surveillance unit chief, said Thursday they monitored the clustering of dengue cases since last month in Barangays Tamontaka, Rosary Heights 10 and Bagua MB, Cotabato City; Labangal in this city; Zone IV of Poblacion in Koronadal City; and, Calabanit in Glan town in Sarangani province.
The DOH’s National Epidemiology Center defined clustering of cases as the emergence of three or more cases in a barangay in four consecutive weeks.
Vingno said such findings were based on the results of its intensified dengue surveillance and monitoring in the region from May 20 to June 16.
Region 12 covers the provinces of South Cotabato, Sultan Kudarat, Sarangani, North Cotabato and the cities of General Santos, Koronadal, Tacurong, Kidapawan and Cotabato.
As of June 16, Vingno said the confirmed dengue cases in the region has so far reached 1,284 or up by two percent from the same period last year.
But she noted that the overall dengue incidence in the area has slowed down in the last four weeks after reaching the alert threshold for five weeks in the months April and May.
North Cotabato posted the highest dengue incidence with 573 cases followed by South Cotabato with 193, Cotabato City with 189, General Santos City with 170, Sarangani with 90 and Sultan Kudarat with 69.
Vingno noted that the confirmed dengue cases in Cotabato City have so far increased by 108 percent when compared to last year’s figures.
North Cotabato and this city posted increases of 41 and 2 percent, respectively, while the rest of the areas noted decreases in the number of cases ranging from 20 to 60 percent.
The City Integrated Health Services Office (CIHSO) placed the city under dengue alert earlier this month due to the continuing increase in dengue cases and related deaths in the area.
DOH-12 records showed that four of the nine confirmed dengue deaths in the region were from this city but the CIHSO noted that five victims of the mosquito-borne disease have so far died in the area since January.
Dr. Edgardo Sandig, CIHSO chief, said they have dispatched their health teams to the city’s 26 barangays to conduct regular cleanup drives and awareness sessions regarding the disease.
He said they have been also making the rounds in local public and private schools to raise awareness on various measures against dengue among students, pupils and school personnel.
The campaign, he said, is centered on the Department of Health’s (DOH) 4S strategy against dengue: search and destroy, self-protection measures, seek early consultation, and say no to indiscriminate fogging. (Allen V. Estabillo / MindaNews)